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Full text of "Mutual relation of masters and slaves as taught in the Bible : a discourse preached in the First Presbyterian Church, Augusta, Georgia, on Sabbath morning, Jan. 6, 1861"

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MUTUAL RELATION OF MASTERS AND 

SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE 

A DISCOURSE 



PREACHED IN" THE 



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AUGUSTA, GEORGIA, 



On Sabbath Morning, Jan. 6, 1861, 



By JOSEPH R WILSON, D. D., Pastoe. 



IPnblislxed. by T2.eqiiesi. 



AUGUSTA, GA 

STEAM PRESS OF CHRONICLE & SENTINEL, 
1861. 



CORRESPONDENCE. 



Augusta, January 7th, 18(31. 
TO THE REV. DR. WILSON:— 

Rev. and Dear Sir : — Having heard your sermon on yesterday, and be- 
lieving it to be of such a character that its free circulation may bring 
about great good, and a better understanding of the basis upon which 
the relation of Master and Slave, as it exists in the Southern States, rests ; 
and that, to sustain us in our position, Ave have both "the law and the 
testimony," we earnestly ask a copy of it for publication. 
With sentiments of the highest esteem, we are yours, &c, 

Geo. T. Jacksox*, W. W. Alexander, 

Alfred Baker, Jonx K. Jacksox", 

J. S. Wilcox, C. A. Rowland, 

J. A. Ax t sley, 1). H. Axslet, 

M. WiLKix*sox r , J. W. Boxes, 

T. W. CniCUESTER. 



Augusta, January 8th, 1801. 

Gentlemen : — I confess to an honest reluctance in allowing the publica- 
tion of the sermon, a copy of which you politely request. It was not 
written with a view to wide circulation, nor was it prepared witli exclu- 
sive reference to the present unhappy agitations of the popular mind. 
You are aware that it is the closing discourse of a series upon "Family 
Government, 1 ' intended for my own church, and for immediate effect at 
home. But, still, its discussion may be the means of doing a service to 
my slaveholding brethren throughout the State, by promoting intelligence 
upon a momentous subject of practical interest to them and the whole 
world. It is surely high time that the Bible view of slavery should be 
examined, and that we should begin to meet the infidel fanaticism of our 
infatuated enemies upon the elevated ground of a divine warrant for the 
institution we are resolved to cherish. My sermon is, therefore, placed 
at your disposal. Your sincere friend and servant 

for Christ's sake, 

Joseph E. Wilson'. 

To Messrs. Jackson, Alexander, Baker and others. 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2012 with funding from 

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hil 



http://archive.org/details/mutualrelationofOOwils 



I ) ISOOURSE. 



EPHEBIAKS, VI: 5-9 :—" Servants, be obedient to them tbat are your 
masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness 
of your heart, as unto Christ ; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, 
but as the servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart ; 
with good-will doing service, as to the Lord and not to men ; know- 
ing that whatsoever good thing any man doeth, the same shall he re- 
' ceive of the Lord, whether he be bond or free. And, ye masters, 
do the same things unto them, forbearing threatening, knowing that 
your Master also is in Heaven; neither is there respect of persons 
with him." 

I. 

Our attention is forcibly arrested by the very first word 
of this text; "servants." There is no difficulty in ascer- 
taining its true meaning, in the original Greek. It dis- 
tinctly and unequivocally signifies "slaves," springing as it 
does in this its substantive form from a verbal root, which 
means to bind. There are several words, conveying differ- 
ent shades of thought, which Grecians were accustomed to 
employ in speaking of servants, inasmuch as there are 
several kinds and degrees of servitude. But no one of 
them does so emphatically set forth ilm true and simple 
idea of domestic slavery as understood in these Southern 
States, as the word "<JouXotf" — the word whose plural form 
opens our text. It refers us to a man who is in the relation 
of permanent and legal bondage to another: this other 
having in him and his labor the strictest rights of 'property. 
The word is never employed to indicate the condition of a 



MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 



mere hireling. It points out a dependent who is solely un- 
der the authority of a master : that master being the head 
of a household and wielding over his slaves the commission 
of a despot, whose acts are to he determined only by the 
restraining laws of Christianity and by general considera- 
tions of his own and their welfare : a despot responsible to 
God, a good conscience, and the well-being of society. I 
use this word "despot" advisedly. It is the scriptural op- 
posite of "slave," as in the passage from the 1st Epistle to 
Timothy : "Let as many servants (&>uXou</) as are under the 
yoke count their own masters (dstftforatf) worthy of all honor;" 
and as in the words taken from the Epistle to Titus : "Ex- 
hort servants to be obedient to their own masters" — slaves 
to be obedient to their despots. In the passage immediately 
under discussion, the word "servants" has for its antithesis 
the word which may be rendered "lords," and which, in its 
lowest signification, means "possessors," "owners," "mas- 
ters" in a sense sufficiently absolute. As a freedman, in 
the ISTew Testament sense, is one who is at liberty to go 
and act and be what he pleases, so a slave is one who goes 
and acts and is controlled by a superior will. And not only 
do the New Testament writers use the word (Wxotf, to express 
the meaning I have shown it to have ; this meaning is like- 
wise common to all the ancient authors, whose works in 
the Greek language are considered classic; men who wrote 
with strict attention to verbal accurac} r , and whose compo- 
sitions came from their pens at a time when domestic slave- 
ry was a universal institution. I have been thus particular 
in establishing the true import of this word, for a purpose. 
The time has fully come when all who are interested per- 
sonally in the subject of Southern institutions — whether 






SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 



masters or servants — should, comprehend their scriptural re- 
lation to them — should, know whether or not the holiness 
of Grod receives or rejects them — and. whether in all our 
possible contentions for their maintenance we are to have 
only men for our enemies or, in addition, our Sovereign 
Ruler also. Now, we have already seen that the Holy 
Spirit employs words which lie has intended, to he under- 
stood, as distinctly enunciating the existence of domestic 
servitude — that lie has sent to all the world a volume of 
truth, which is indisputably addressed to men who hold 
slaves and to the slaves who possess masters — and that, 
from the connections in which these highly suggestive 
words occur, He has included slavery as an organizing ele- 
ment in that family order which lies at the very foundation 
of Church and State. A study of such words is, therefore, 
a first and an important step in ascertaining the will of God 
with respect to an institution which short sighted men have 
indiscriminately and violently denounced, and which wicked 
men have declared unworthy of the countenance of a Chris- 
tianity whose peaceful and conservative spirit, as applied to 
society, they neither respect nor understand. 

II. 

I am sure that you will bear with me while I take anoth- 
er step in this great argument, and show how completely 
the Bible brings human slavery underneath the sanction of 
divine authority, upon other and stronger grounds. In- 
deed, my text compels me to take this course — for, if our 
domestic servitude be essentially different from that to which 
the Apostle's exhortations refer, we do but beat the air 
with empty sounds when we endeavor to apply them to the 



MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 



masters and servants who compose the christian congrega- 
tions of this section of our country. If Paul, or rather the 
great God, speaking by his inspired lips, meant to confine 
his evangelical teachings to a state of things wholly unlike 
that under which Ave live, then this portion of Scripture is 
to us a dead letter, and can have no influence upon our con- 
sciences or conduct. If we preach from it at all, therefore, 
it must be employed for the practical benefit of hearers now 
as much as when the Ephcsian church opened their ears and 
hearts to its reception. And, in truth, in the suggestions 
of this very thought, there is a remote scriptural plea to be 
found for the divine sanction of slavery. It would seem, 
that, inasmuch as the Bible was intended for all times and 
all ages, and not for one period and a single country, the 
fact that it gives directions as plain and fall and forcible 
for the regulation of domestic service as it does for defining 
and limiting the marital, parental and filial relations in 
families, furnishes an inferential proof of the proposition 
that, everywhere, such service ought to be as universal as 
such higher and tenderer relations : that no household is 
perfect under the gospel which does not contain all the 
grades of authority and obedience, from that of husband 
and wife, down through that of father and son, to that of 
master and servant. Accordingly, we do find, as a matter 
of historical fact, that among all people, during all the pe- 
riods of time, there have been those, in every family, whom 
the very law of necessity itself has made servants to the 
others ; servants, if not always in the rigid sense which 
tlavery seems to imply, yet in a sense sufficiently obvious 
aad strict. Go where you will — visit what family you may, 
and you will find members of the household, under some 



SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 



law which requires them more than the others, to perform 
menial services for all the little community. The hireling, 
the wife, the eldest child, the dependent stranger, may be 
the voluntary or involuntary doer of offices which must fall 
to the lot of some one. I need not point you to the mani- 
fold illustrations of this idea, which appears in all condi- 
tions of human society — even in those which are most fa- 
vored — even in those from which come the most heate d 
denunciations of a slavery which, existing among us, differs 
at best from their own more in degree and form than in 
essential qualities. There must be such inequalities in 
society; and whenever an attempt has been made to remove 
them — whenever radicalism has proposed to smooth down 
all individuals in the family or other community to a com- 
mon level — as in the experiments of Fonrierism, which 
once excited so much attention in the world, — it was found 
that a fundamental law had been transgressed, and failure 
inevitably attended such unscriptural and disorganizing 
attempts. God has evidently made one to serve another. 
The simple question is, what must be the nature of this 
service ? The answer is, that its nature depends upon cir- 
cumstances. And out of this answer springs the interro- 
gation, has God ever shown us that there are circumstances 
under which involuntary service may be required and yield- 
ed on the part of masters and slaves ? Has He ever de- 
clared this kind of service to be right, and lifted its exis- 
tence entirely above the charge of sinfulness ? Are we at 
full liberty to carry to Him upon the arms of our faith, our 
households, and as confidently ask Him to bless our ser- 
vants as our children ? Does this great, beneficial, civiliz- 
ing institution of slavery live beneath the light of His face, 



10 MUTUAL ItELATIOAS OF MASTERS AND 

with no fault to be found with it upon the part of His in- 
finite holiness, except when and wherein it may sutler abuse 
at the hands of the parties concerned? Surely the Bible is 
clear enough upon this point to satisfy the most sensitive 
conscience. Light cannot shine with greater brightness 
than does the doctrine of the sinlessness — nay, than does 
the doctrine of the righteousness — of an institution, which, 
besides being sustained and promoted by a long course of 
favorable providences, besides being recognized as a prime 
conservator of the civilization of the world, besides being 
one of the colored man's foremost sources of blessing, is 
likewise directly sanctioned by both the utterance and 
silence of Scripture. 

III. 

Look, first, at the most instructive silence of Scripture 
upon this subject. An obvious feature of the sacred word, 
whose office, in the hands of the Spirit, is to convince of 
sin and conduct to righteousness, is this : it never mentions 
a grave offence against God without denouncing it directly 
or impliedly : denouncing it, too, in the face of every 
human policy for maintaining its existence : denouncing it, 
that is, without the least regard to present consequences. 
The Bible could not wink at prevailing error, much less at 
prevailing crime, least of all at prevailing ungodliness, 
through any fear of arousing angry opposition against 
Christianity on the part of such as might hold the civil 
power, or of such as might direct the sneer of hatred. 
Christianity came, rather, as necessarily it must have come, 
as a "sword," to set men at "variance" on the field of a 
great fight between evil and good. Wherever, therefore, 



SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 11 

it went in the early ages, it dealt incessant blows at idola- 
try, for example; blows which are now being repeated 
throughout the pagan world by an army of missionaries, 
whom no danger is sufficient to appal. Under all circum- 
stances, too, falsehood comes under the frown of Scripture 
truth ; so do theft, drunkenness, violence, murder, and a 
multitude of smaller offenses. In fact, on the deeply col- 
ored canvass of God's word, you find such a faithful repre- 
sentation of human guilt through all the turns and pre- 
tences and developments of the sinful heart, as leaves noth- 
ing wanting to complete the portraiture of that manifold 
criminality against which divine wrath breathes one con- 
stant stream of fiery condemnation. God will not, must 
not, cannot tamper with sin, in any of its forms, so long as 
He remains true to Himself and to His holy magistracy. 
He can neither connive at it by silence, nor perpetuate it 
by giving laws for its regulation, nor excuse it by letting 
down to its weakness His relaxed law. Sin is wrong ab- 
solutely — a deep curse to the universe, in itself- — and when 
discovered by the searches of divine truth, whether in the 
individual heart or in the common practices of societies, 
must meet with the instant, the spontaneous, the over- 
whelming displeasure of Jehovah. 

JSTow, iri the face of such reflections, it is remarkable, to 
say the least, that the institution of compulsory slavery, as 
it existed throughout the Roman Empire, although often 
referred to in the Wew Testament, is never once condemned, 
never once even discountenanced. On the contrary, pro- 
vision is made for its perpetuation, by means of the rules 
which are given for its regulation and improvement. So 
far from Scripture appearing as the destroyer, it appears as 



12 MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 

the upholder, of an institution, which, under proper manage- 
ment, by christian people, is represented as an element in do- 
mestic completeness, whose presence is a benefit and a bles- 
sing. If it be a wrong, it is not so in itself ; it can become 
so only when masters and servants misconceive and abuse 
their relationship to each other. We are led to understand 
that if the salt of grace be thrown into this branch of the 
family union, it will prove an auxiliary to the church and 
society only second to the parental and filial relationship. 
And, lest any should imagine that because the slavery of 
the Roman Empire was essentially different from that which 
we cherish, the Bible smiled upon that when it could not 
upon this, we have the amplest testimony of history to show 
that the two systems exhibited entire agreement in princi- 
ple, and that they differ only in their circumstances. It is 
certain that our servile laws are indefinitely milder — every 
way more humane — than were those which existed when 
the Savior preached and the Apostles wrote. It is certain, 
too, that the institution in that ancient empire was far more 
extensive — more thoroughly domesticated — more perfectly 
inwrought into the very structure of society — than is the 
similar institution in this modern republic — and, therefore, 
was of such an amazing magnitude of proportions as that, 
if involuntary servitude were in itself an evil thing, then 
was presented the very best opportunity to strike it down 
forever with a blow from the hammer of the Spirit. A sin 
which overshadowed the land, which darkened every house- 
hold, which hampered the church — surely a sin of such 
enormity would have been visited with the utmost severity 
of heaven's fury. But no : that fury nowhere appears in 
the threats or expostulations of Scripture. Instead, we 



SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 13 

find a distinct law of permission, and an unequivocal note 
of favor, extended to it. The Bible would control and 
sanctify, but not destroy it. 

In the days of the Apostles, it is proper for me to remind 
you, there was a party, whose numbers were scattered 
throughout the empire, which constituted the "abolition 
party" of that period. It is known that the Pharisees gave 
a special prominence to political freedom ; joined with them 
were the Essenes ; and binding together the whole, were 
certain philosophers who inculcated unattainable notions of 
universal liberty. These persons were in the habit of con- 
demning Roman masters as unjust, impious, and destroyers 
of a law of nature. They inculcated the same abstract doc- 
trines as those which have proceeded from mistaken phil- 
anthropy in our own distracted country, and which, at the 
time when Paul wrote to the Ephesians, were threatening 
the world with discord and bloodshed, as now, by the per- 
missive wrath of God again they threaten. It was, there- 
fore, to meet the unholy recklessness of such a destructive 
spirit, that the Apostles were careful to enjoin the conserva- 
tion of an institution, which, though, like all othei earthly 
institutions, attended by many circumstantial evils arising 
from the corruption of the human heart, was nevertheless 
no more wrong in its essential principles than the relation 
of husband and wife or father and child. And Paul was 
not a mere theoretical teacher upon this subject. He prac- 
tised the righteousness which he enjoined. He once, at 
least, had it in his power to display the true spirit of chris- 
tian love in his treatment of slaveholders. I refer you to 
his conduct with respect to Onesimus, a runaway slave be- 
longing to that believer in Christ, Philemon. This servant 



14 MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 

coming providentially under the influence of Paul's preach- 
ing, was happily converted. Being converted, what was 
his duty to his defrauded master ? The spirit of Christiani- 
ty, which now resided in his heart, informed his conscience 
of the fact that he was the jiropcrty of Philemon, and that 
while he remained away from his owner's home and au- 
thority, he was committing the sin of robbery. He con- 
sulted the Apostle. What was his advice ? lie did not 
hesitate to urge Onesimus to go at once to his master, con- 
fess at his feet the grevious fault he had committed, aud 
beg to be received once more among the number of his 
slaves. And that the reconciliation between master and 
servant might be hastened, Paul wrote, (and wrote under 
the inspiration of Grod,) a letter of beseeching tenderness 
to the offended owner, asking him to pardon the faithful 
fugitive and give him a place in his confidence, and telling 
him that he would now, with grace in his heart, be a far 
better servant than ever. 

Such reasoning, from the implied allowance of slavery 
by inspired Scripture, is, my friends, conclusive enough 
upon the point in question. Let neither master nor servant 
dispute the righteousness, doubt the wisdom, or fear the 
reproach of the relation which they sustain towards each 
other. It is not sinful. It is not inexpedient. It is not 
degradatory. 

IV. 

But look at God's direct and positive utterances in 
the premises. I need only point you to them, so clearly 
do they establish the fact that this part of family order 
was always familiar to the divine mind in its plans of 



SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 15 

human government. Domestic slavery is twice clearly ac- 
knowledged in the brief law of the Ten Commandments. 
In the 4th law, with regard to the proper observance of the 
Sabbath, the rule of righteousness is laid down, which pro- 
vides for the periodical rest, during holy time, of the 
"man-servant and the maid-servant," who, together with 
the other animate property of the household, must suspend 
labor ; and who, together with the other rational members of 
ihe family must expend their thoughts in glorifying God. 
In the 10th law, again, which establishes those social rela- 
tions of mankind, whose integrity and purity must be main- 
tained in heart if they would be productive of good in fact, 
and where, accordingly, the desires of men are forbidden to 
covet neighbor's blessings — in this law, it is made a fatal 
sin to covet his u man-servant or his maid-servant,'" just as it 
is to covet any other of his possessions. 

This recognition of involuntary servitude is, we say, thus 
found imbedded in the very heart of the moral law itself — 
that law which determines the principles of divine adminis- 
tration over men — a law which constitutes, if I may so 
speak, the very constitution of that royal kingdom whose 
regulations begin and end in the infinite holiness of Jeho- 
vah, and whose spread through the universal heart of the 
race is the aim of all Scripture. 

But, in addition, hear the express words of the Holy 
Ghost in the Levitical law — words which embody an ex- 
plicit provision for the future possession, by the Israelites, 
of man in property which they did not have at the time 
these words were spoken : a provision, then, not to regulate 
what already existed, but to legalize what was, 40 years 
afterwards, to become a distinct institution : 



1G MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 

"Both thy bondmen and thy bondwomen which thou 
shalt have, shall be of the heathen that are round about 
you ; of them shall ye buy bondmen and bondmaids. And 
ye shall take them as an inheritance for your children after 
you to inherit them for a possession ; they shall be your 
bondmen forever." ISTo law can be plainer. ±so instruc- 
tion of truth could more convince the christian that he is 
standing upon the surest and safest ground, whenever he 
resists the imputation that he is a sinner while upholding a 
system of domestic servitude. He can triumphantly say: 
"I direct you to the law and testimony !" 

V. 

But my hearers, if you wish for farther conviction, carry 
your belief of the essential rightness of slavery to the in- 
junctions of our text, which the Apostle publishes for its 
conservation and perfection. He as much as says, that it is 
unnecessary to fear that this long-cherished institution will 
first give way before the enemies who press upon it from 
without. If slaveholders preserve it as an element of social 
welfare, in the spirit of the christian religion, throwing in- 
to it the full measure of gospel-salt allotted to it, and cast- 
ing around it the same guardianship with which they would 
protect their family peace, if threatened on some other 
ground — they need apprehend nothing but their own dere- 
liction in duty to themselves and their dependent servants. 
I mean, simply, that while we ought to allow no malignant 
interference from any quarter with the institution of which 
we are God's appointed guardians, and while we ought to 
be suitably alive to any threat of presumptuous violence 
which may seek to wrest from us our heaven-given rights 
in our heaven-allowed property — yet, after all, the wisdom 



SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 17 

which, lies underneath the spirit of this sensitive watchful- 
ness of our political zeal, and which gives to that zeal its 
purity and power, is the wisdom to be exercised in making 
our domestic servitude all that it should become, so as to 
render it worth the expenditure of every energy of defence. 
"We must see to it, that masters and servants understand 
and appreciate their mutual relation, and that they main- 
tain it on both sides as christians. This is the object of the 
apostolic exhortations before us, and upon which I will now 
briefly comment : exhortations which, seeking to purify 
domestic servitude, do thereby bring it completely within 
gospel sanctions. 

There are certain vices which slavery is apt to engender, 
in preference to all others. These are founded in indo- 
lence, eye-service and hypocrisy. These evils appear in a 
variety of forms, and are a constant source of irritation and 
unhappiness. But, so far as the servant is concerned, they 
are met by one simple injunction, the injunction of obe- 
dience to his master. If obedience be sincere, be consistent, 
be from proper motives, it will remove every vice from the 
servant's temper and conduct. The Apostle, therefore, 
presents to the reader those noble qualities of servile alle- 
giance which will elevate it at once to the high point of 
christian compliance with rightful authority ; the only wor- 
thy compliance. He exhorts servants to obey, 1st, with con- 
scientous anxiety: expressed by "fear and trembling." 
ISTot, however, so much the fear of man as a reverential 
fear of God, is to be understood in these words. It is not 
the servile dread of punishment. It is a careful and pains- 
taking solicitude to do right under all the circumstances of 

their relation, because the eye of heaven rests upon them 
9 



18 MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 



and will follow with its displeasure every act or course of 
wrong-doing. Obedience must. 2dly be with "singleness 
of mind :" not hypocritical, not deceitful, not inspired by 
duplicity or cunning. There must be no double-minded- 
ness, but the giving to the business in hand all the simpli- 
city of an honest purpose. Service is to be yielded upon 
principle, not with that attempt to please both self and the 
master which ends in "eye-service," and then only seems 
diligent and complete when he is present, but breaks down 
into remissness when he is absent. And to this excellence 
will obedience attain when, odly, it issues from the heart 
which desires "first of all to please Christ. Obey "not as 
men-pleasers" says the exhortation, "but as the servants of 
Christ, doing the will of God" in your station, "from the 
heart ; with good-will, doing service, as to the Lord and not 
to men." The servant is, like the child, to know that the 
authority under which he has been placed is from above, 
and that the master rules him as the agent of heaven. He 
must, therefore, do his whole duty with his thoughts fixed 
upon that divine upper hand of which the lower one of his 
owner is but the representative. Disobedience to his pro- 
prietor on earth, is rebellion against the law of God, who 
is the first and principal proprietor of all. And this con- 
sideration is required in order to render the service good, 
elevating and self-rewarding. To serve Him, who is infin- 
itely holy and infinitely great, while giving heed to his 
temporal and imperfect master, throws into the servant's 
obedience that element which makes it eminently saint- 
like, and gives it a place in his christian experience. So 
that he goes through his daily duties with this consolation, 
singing its glad song to his labor : " Whatever good thing 



SLAVES AS TAUGHT IN THE BIBLE. 19 

• 

any man doeth, the same shall he receive of the Lord, whether he 
be bond, or free." 

"What a pleasing scene would the institution of slavery 
exhibit, were all our servants to yield their obedience in 
this spirit of the christian religion ! It would ccmmend 
itself to true philanthropy as containing the best system of 
labor which is allowable to fallen man. But alas ! the 
bondmen whom we own and employ, while occupying the 
most favorable position for improvement and happiness 
that is possible to them, are, as yet, far from being imbued 
with that love to God, which alone can raise their lot to its 
highest dignity. We thank God that so many of them are 
pious — that from so many of their comfortable houses 
comes the voice of prayer and praise — and that so many of 
them are conscientous servitors of man for Christ's sake. 
But we ought to look forward to the time when they will 
all be what the Bible would make them; a race whose love 
for the Master above will spread through their rejoicing 
millions a measure of sanctification which will convert their 
services into the very 'first of home-blessings, and their piety 
into a missionary influence for saving the black man every- 
where from the ruin of perdition. 

But to accomplish this, their earthly masters have some- 
thing — have much — to do. "Ye masters, do the same things 
unto them, forbearing threatening • knowing that your master also 
t3 in heaven; neither is there respect of persons with Rim." 
For masters to "do the same things" which their servants are 
required to do, is for them to "act towards the dependents 
with the same regard to the will of God, the same recogni- 
tion of the authority of Christ, the same sincerity and good 
leeling which has been enjoined upon the slaves them 



20 MUTUAL RELATIONS OP MASTERS AND 



selves." God concedes nothing to the master heyond what 
the law of love, demands. He does not allow the reign of 
injustice over this institution any more than over the other 
departments of family order. Every dictate of humanity 
does, indeed, render necessary the maintenance of a due 
subordination of the servant to his proprietor : righteous- 
ness in fulfilling the obligations of the relationship does not 
ask foi equality, but rather repudiates it, seeing that the 
best interests of all parties can be served only on the terms 
which nature and providence and scripture have fixed — the 
terms of mastery on the one side and servitude on the oth- 
er. But, notwithstanding the careful guardianship of the 
principle of authority on the part of owners, yet must they 
not forget that they are to give an account to God at last 
for the right use of their exalted stewardship — the steward- 
ship over souls of immortal men, placed directly underneath 
their control. They are to endeavor to train up their ser- 
vants for heaven — as much bound to do this as they are 
bound to attend to the religious instruction of their own 
children. Masters are, for this end, even required to guard 
their tempers, that they may be guiltless of unnecessary 
severity in the treatment of their domestics ; to "avoid 
threatening :" but to administer a firm, consistent, orderly, 
paternal government, which will suitably mingle the mercy 
of punishment with the justice of reward. They must re- 
member to treat their servants as they will expect their own 
Master in heaven to treat them. They must not neglect 
discipline, but it must always be the discipline which is dic- 
tated by holy principle. In short, the master who would 
do for his servants up to the full measurement of Bible re- 
quirements, will find himself unequal to the task in all its 



MUTUAL RELATIONS OF MASTERS AND 21 

length and breadth, unless he himself become a christian in 
heart and practice. To vital goodness alone belongs the 
privilege of understanding and administering the whole 
authority of a masterhood so responsible. And, oh, when 
that welcome day shall dawn, whose light will reveal a 
world covered with righteousness, not the least pleasing 
sight will be the institution of domestic slavery, freed from 
its stupid servility on the one side and its excesses of neg- 
lect or severity on the other, and appearing to all mankind 
as containing that scheme of politics and morals, which, by 
saving a lower race from the destruction of heathenism, 
has, under divine management, contributed to refine, ex- 
alt, and enrich its superior race !